The Sophomore Slump Is a Myth: 8 Second Novels You Need to Read

April 29 2019

You’ve probably heard the term “sophomore slump,” meaning a decline in performance following a successful debut. Some authors might find it hard to follow an exceptional debut novel, but most just get better with time. Whether it’s a sequel or another stand-alone novel, these eight authors just keep giving us amazing stories.

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Chances are you’ve read something by Jane Austen. But if you have yet to read her second published work, it’s a riveting read about life and love in the Georgian Era. Mr. Bennet attempts to marry off his five daughters, including the headstrong Elizabeth. Elizabeth and her wealthy suitor, Mr. Darcy, must overcome their differences in this witty satire of English country life.

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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III's England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini is the author of the beloved novel THE KITE RUNNER, an unforgettable contemporary classic—but then there’s A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS, a truly special and memorable read. Hosseini’s second novel is a multigenerational story of sacrifice, survival, and enduring love that will leave readers praising his literary prowess.

Read the full review of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini

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MENTIONED IN:

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'Salem's Lot
by Stephen King

There is no denying that Stephen King’s first published novel, CARRIE, is a horror story for the ages. But King’s second published work, ’SALEM’S’ LOT, originally published in 1975, showcases his unrivaled ability to scare readers out of their minds—which he would go on to do for decades after. ’SALEM’S LOT is one of those horror novels that stays with you for life. It tells the story of Ben Mears, who returns to his childhood home in Maine. After a young boy dies in the woods, Mears realizes that something far beyond his wildest fears lurks in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot.

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'Salem's Lot
Stephen King

One of the most ambitious and terrifying novels about the undead ever written, ’SALEM’S LOT explores what would happen if vampires existed in our modern world. When a young man returns to his hometown, he quickly realizes that it’s harboring something dark and evil. Can a small, insular town survive, or is it—and the rest of the country—doomed?

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The Woman in Cabin 10
by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware is a master at writing suspenseful psychological thrillers that keep readers on the edge of their seats. IN A DARK, DARK WOOD left me afraid of the forest behind my childhood home for much longer than I care to admit. Her second novel, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, achieved equal acclaim as it dragged readers aboard the cruise ship Aurora. On board, investigative journalist Lo Blacklock attempts to convince the rest of the passengers that something has gone very, very wrong.

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The Woman in Cabin 10
Ruth Ware

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The Girl in the Tower
by Katherine Arden

This book is a sequel to Katherine Arden’s debut novel, THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE. The Winternight Trilogy is a fantastical historical fiction story that follows the life of Vasya, who grew up listening to the fairy tales her nurse told. But as evil slithers out of the shadows of the forest, Vasya must face something far more terrifying than fairy tales. Katherine Arden’s storytelling only grows stronger with each novel she writes, and the Winternight Trilogy is sure to captivate every reader.

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The Girl in the Tower
Katherine Arden

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MENTIONED IN:

The Sophomore Slump Is a Myth: 8 Second Novels You Need to Read

By Maddie Ehrenreich | April 29, 2019

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The Illustrated Man
by Ray Bradbury

THE ILLUSTRATED MAN is a fantastic piece of literature that shows Ray Bradbury’s growth as an author. While you may be familiar with Bradbury’s third book, FAHRENHEIT 451, you might not have read the second. THE ILLUSTRATED MAN is a riveting blend of magic, technology, and truth. In this collection of short stories, an unnamed narrator meets the Illustrated Man, whose tattoos magically come to life.

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The Illustrated Man
Ray Bradbury

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MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | November 30, 2020

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Close
Mr. Flood's Last Resort
by Jess Kidd

Jess Kidd’s imaginative, haunting, and surprisingly funny debut novel, HIMSELF, found a home in readers’ hearts worldwide. MR. FLOOD’S LAST RESORT (known as THE HOARDER outside the US) is an equally ghastly and eccentric dark comedy that fans of HIMSELF will love even more. MR. FLOOD’S LAST RESORT follows caretaker Maud Drennan, who is assigned to help the menacing Cathal Flood get his house in order. But as Maud digs deeper into the mansion, buried secrets come to light, and she searches for answers in the forgotten case of a missing schoolgirl.

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Mr. Flood's Last Resort
Jess Kidd

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Murder on the Links
by Agatha Christie

The first Agatha Christie novel I read was AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. But over her lifetime Christie wrote over 70 books and became one of the most acclaimed mystery writers of all time. Published in 1923, THE MURDER ON THE LINKS is the second of many Hercule Poirot–centered stories—and Christie’s second published book ever. In this novel, Poirot is called to France to solve the murder of man found in a shallow grave on a golf course. This early Poirot story is full of all the things readers love about Christie’s works, and is a fun mystery that will leave readers guessing until the very end.

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Murder on the Links
Agatha Christie

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MENTIONED IN:

The Sophomore Slump Is a Myth: 8 Second Novels You Need to Read

By Maddie Ehrenreich | April 29, 2019

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